My Dear Fellow Writers:

Membership in the Gulf Coast Writers Association requires annual dues of $50. Those dues allow us to pay rent for a place to meet and to cover honorariums for presenters. They allow us to participate in the Lee County Library Reading Festival, maintain our website, and sponsor a noteworthy writing contest with a discounted entry fee for Members. We must also carry liability insurance. We are a nonprofit. No member or officer receives compensation for our work. All dues go toward essentials.
Annual dues, which are due in January, cover the period Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Dues paid in the last three months of the year are applied to the next calendar year. Dues paid January 1 through September 30 apply to the calendar year in which they are paid.
For example:
Writer A pays dues in October 2023 and is in good standing throughout 2024.
Writer B pays dues in August of 2023 and is covered through the remainder of 2023.

Unfortunately, a large part of our membership is behind on their dues. Part of this problem is confusion about when dues are due. Part is the association’s reluctance to invoice.
But we need to function, and we need dues to do that. The $50 is a small amount and the rewards of membership are high. Please go to and use Paypal to pay your dues or send a check made out to Gulf Coast Writers Association, Inc., P.O. Box 60771, Fort Myers, FL 33906. Or bring a check to the February meeting. If you are not sure you have paid, email to ask. David will let you know.

We all need to support our organization. Those who do not pay dues lose the privileges that come with membership: free attendance at meetings, participation in the Reading Festival, access to important website information, and many other opportunities.

Yours toward a more robust organization of writers helping writers,
Mary Charles, Acting President,
and the Executive Board

Mary Charles

Dear GCWA Member,
This is my first letter to our Gulf Coast Writers Association as our new president. Irene Smith,
having served as president so energetically, has earned her emerita status. We are in Irene’s
debt for her tireless efforts on our behalf, especially in the difficult Covid years when we could
not meet in person. That we continue to exist is a testament to Irene’s tenacity.

I promise to stay connected, to foster a sense of community among writers, and to be open to
your wishes. Please do likewise: keep in touch, help us connect, and make your wishes known.

I want to hear from you. Here’s my contact info:; 718-848-4031.

A few items of business:

Item 1: We do not meet in December. Our next meeting will be Saturday January 20 at 10 AM
at Word of Life Church, 6111 South Pointe Blvd., Fort Myers. That meeting will be a webinar
with Friesen Press, a 100% employee-owned publishing house. The moderator will help us
understand the pluses and minuses of traditional versus self publishing as we try to get our
words into print. During that meeting we’ll also begin forming committees for vital functions of
our writers’ organization. Please plan to come. If you can’t make it in person, I urge you to
attend remotely via Zoom. More info will come in the “formal” January President’s Letter.

Item 2: Please pay your dues. January 1 is the official “dues date.” The $50 annual fee covers
rent of our meeting facility, development and maintenance of our website [soon to debut in its
new form], speaker honorarium, and other essentials of our organization. Pay your dues, either
by PayPal on our website, by check to Gulf Coast Writers (PO Box 60771, Fort Myers, FL 33906),
or at the January 2024 meeting.

Item 3: Please speak up, step up and sign up to help us keep our association lively and growing.
Let us know what you expect from our organization. And help us fulfill those expectations by
spearheading projects and raising your hand when help is solicited. Every GCWA position is
voluntary. There are no salaries or other compensation. A few are now doing all the jobs.
Burnout is a threat. Speak up. Step up. Initiate. We’ll be a better organization for it.

Meanwhile, I wish for you all the joys of this holiday season and a bright, productive beginning
to 2024.
Mary Charles

President’s letter for April 2023

In our broadest initiative in many years, Gulf Coast Writers Association is partnering with the Alliance for the Arts to remember Hurricane Ian in words and art.

The words are the job of us Gulf Coast Writers, of course. We will produce a book of prose and poetry submitted by our members and the public, telling the story of Hurricane Ian from a personal perspective. This anthology will debut during the month-long art and interactive exhibit installation in September at the Alliance for the Arts.

The deadline for inclusion in the printed Storm Stories book is May 1. To help us put our stories down in writing, our April 15 meeting will be a workshop to develop or refine our Storm Stories.

Come with your work in progress or simply a blank notebook and pen. Two of our members, Jeanne Meeks and Mary Charles, will facilitate creating or fleshing out your story. Both Jeanne and Mary conduct memoir workshops in their home communities. They will bring their experience and skills with exercises to help us tell our stories.

We expect a big turnout on April 15 among our members for this workshop. But we also extend an invitation to all Hurricane Ian survivors with a story to tell. Tell your neighbors. Encourage them to attend and write their stories. This initiative is not just for highly skilled writers. Ask the EMS worker down the street to participate, or the lineman you met during restoration, or your friend in the police. Stories can be submitted to the GCWA website, whether or not you attend the April workshop.

This workshop may also help you refine your other writing project: submission to the annual Gulf Coast Writers Contest. That deadline has been extended to May 31. You can enter in fiction, nonfiction or poetry. Just enter. This is another opportunity to be published. All 1st, 2nd and 3rd place entries, with submitters’ permission, will be featured on our website, in addition to other prizes.

We’ll see you on Saturday April 15, 2023, from 10:00am to noon.

Location: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Come in person or via Zoom. And if you have not renewed your membership, you can pay your dues at the meeting, or through PayPal, or by check mailed to:

Gulf Coast Writers Association
P.O. Box 60771
Fort Myers, FL 33919








Irene Smith, President